The Sea, the Sea

The Sea, the Sea

By (author) Iris Murdoch , Introduction by John Burnside


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WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY JOHN BURNSIDE When Charles Arrowby retires from his glittering career in the London theatre, he buys a remote house on the rocks by the sea. He hopes to escape from his tumultuous love affairs but unexpectedly bumps into his childhood sweetheart and sets his heart on destroying her marriage. His equilibrium is further disturbed when his friends all decide to come and keep him company and Charles finds his seaside idyll severely threatened by his obsessions.

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  • Paperback | 560 pages
  • 124 x 194 x 34mm | 439.98g
  • 01 Aug 1999
  • Vintage Classics
  • London
  • English
  • 009928409X
  • 9780099284093
  • 20,742

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Author Information

Iris Murdoch was born in Dublin in 1919. She read Classics at Somerville College, Oxford, and after working in the Treasury and abroad, was awarded a research studentship in philosophy at Newnham College, Cambridge. In 1948 she returned to Oxford as fellow and tutor at St Anne's College and later taught at the Royal College of Art. Until her death in 1999, she lived in Oxford with her husband, the academic and critic, John Bayley. She was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1987 and in the 1997 PEN Awards received the Gold Pen for Distinguished Service to Literature. Iris Murdoch made her writing debut in 1954 with Under the Net. Her twenty-six novels include the Booker prize-winning The Sea, The Sea (1978), the James Tait Black Memorial prize-winning The Black Prince (1973) and the Whitbread prize-winning The Sacred and Profane Love Machine (1974). Her philosophy includes Sartre: Romantic Rationalist (1953) and Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals (1992); other philosophical writings, including The Sovereignty of Good (1970), are collected in Existentialists and Mystics (1997).

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Review quote

"Dazzlingly entertaining and inventive" The Times "One of the most ambitious tours de force in many years... There are pages one races through to see what happens. She is a virtuoso at description" Daily Mail "She was a brilliantly clever woman" -- Dame Judi Dench "There is no doubt in my mind that Iris Murdoch is one of the most important novelists now writing in English...The power of her imaginative vision, her intelligence and her awareness and revelation of human truth are quite remarkable" The Times "A fabulous novel...funny and poignant and is arguably Murdoch's finest hour" -- Gary Kemp Daily Express

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Review text

Booker Prize Winner in 1978. When director, playwright and actor Charles retires from his glittering London world to become a hermit, it is to the sea that he turns. He hopes to escape from 'the women' but, unexpectedly, meets one whom he loved long ago. Charles learns that his solitude is inhabited by the drama of his own fantasies and obsessions. Intellectually challenging and imaginatively satisfying, this was a great choice for the Booker Prize. (Kirkus UK)

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